She spies a piece of litter.
“Crisp packet”, she mutters bitterly.
Doris puts her hand out to steady herself but there’s nothing to hold on to. Her feet begin to give way.
“Ooop, careful Mrs C.”
Nadeem catches Doris by the elbow. That lovely man from three doors down.
“Ooh Mr Sadiq, thank you.”
Nadeem Sadiq grins.
“Please. Call me Naddy, Mrs C. Are you alright? You looked like you were going for a Burton.”
Doris composes herself. She smiles at Nadeem.
“I’m fine young man. Now you get home to that wife of yours, she’ll be missing you.”
“Ha, I don’t think so, she’s at badminton.”
“Oh, is that somewhere in The Dales?”
“No. Badminton. It’s like tennis, but you play it inside. She’s in a league.”
Nadeem rolls his eyes.
“I’ve got to make my own tea. See you later Mrs C.”
Nadeem dashes off across the road in the direction of the local shop.
Doris heads for the bench 200 yards down the street.
Nadeem walks back from the shops with a microwave meal, a chocolate bar and a jar of baby food.
He doesn’t see Doris until he’s near the bench.
He sets his bag of shopping down and reaches for the phone in his pocket. He calls 999.
“Hello. Ambulance please…”
Doris lays prone on the cold pavement. She is conscious, but only just.
Her eyes stream with tears.
She says but one word.